John Aldridge: Liverpool’s owners can’t fall into same trap as Chelsea and Spurs
Warning signs flashing as Liverpool fall off the pace at the top of the Premier League
A MASTER chef can bake the perfect meal, but only if he is given the right ingredients.
Don’t worry, I haven’t gone mad with my culinary reference to start this column, so let me explain where this is going.
This Premier League season has been a story of big clubs being run by owners who are making an absolute mess of it – and you only need to look at the table to see the clubs I’m talking about.
Let’s start with Everton, who have been run by completely incompetent owners for a long time – and could be facing relegation if they lose against Leicester tomorrow night.
Then you look at Chelsea, where Todd Boehly has overseen the biggest shambles at a top club in recent memory.
Chelsea were in two cup finals last season and won the Champions League in 2021, but this guy has bought the club for crazy money and thought he could buy his way to quick success.
He has spent £600million on new players, fired two managers, made the ridiculous decision to bring Frank Lampard back as interim boss and everything he has tried has backfired.
Chelsea are in the bottom half of the table, they have lurched from one miserable performance to the next – and if I’m being honest, it has been hilarious to watch!
Their next manager has a huge job on his hands, as Boehly has proved he is an owner who doesn’t know what he is doing in football.
Then we move on to Tottenham, who will take on Liverpool at Anfield today after a disastrous collapse in their season sparked fresh questions over their chairman Daniel Levy.
Any chairman who has a solitary 2008 League Cup win on his record from a 22-year run at the top of a club has questions to answer, but Levy doesn’t seem to want to accept blame.
He hires and fires managers at a rapid rate, blames them or the players for failure, but maybe there comes a point where he has to accept he is the problem.
If I was Harry Kane, I would be looking to get out of that club because they look a million miles away from winning trophies – and it seems like the leadership at the top of the club is the problem.
Tottenham look like they need new owners to finally move to the next level and, while I describe Chelsea and Man City as ‘plastic’ as their success is manufactured by mega-wealthy owners, Spurs are a top club.
They have a big fan base, history in the game and could go places if they had the right people leading them from the top, but they don’t have that right now.
The same could be said of Manchester United, where the Glazer family are another example of owners who are in football for the wrong reasons.
So anyone who says players and managers are all that matter at a club need to reflect on the examples I have given above.
There has been plenty of criticism of Liverpool’s American owners – Fenway Sports Group – in recent months, and I’m among those frustrated by the lack of finances that seem to be available to manager Jurgen Klopp.
Suggestions that Liverpool have pulled out of the race for Jude Bellingham, because they want to spread their transfer fund on a few players, set alarm bells ringing for the fans.
After a challenging season that has seen Liverpool fall dramatically from where they were a year ago, it’s clear that big money needs to be spent to get the team back on track.
Two top midfielders are needed, a striker is required to replace the departing Roberto Firmino (inset left) – and there is a feeling that selling unwanted players can raise funds to buy replacements.
Well, the market has moved on since Liverpool signed Virgil van Dijk and Alisson Becker for big money, using the cash from the sale of Philippe Coutinho to Barcelona in 2018.
Liverpool will need to spend £250m on new signings this summer – and they won’t get that from player sales, so FSG would be wise to look at what is happening at Everton, Chelsea and Spurs to see what happens if a manager is not given the right backing.
Klopp has been Liverpool’s master chef over the last few years and he has come up with incredible treats, earning the club’s owners a fortune, and raised the value of the club to previously unimaginable levels.
If FSG don’t get it right now and give him some new ingredients this summer, Liverpool could join the growing ranks of Premier League underachievers for a long time to come.
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